The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall 20 years ago made me think of a visit I made to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum almost 15 years ago. I remember thinking the museum seemed somewhat small and I was surprised to find out that Checkpoint Charlie no longer stood on that location; the building itself was dismantled and moved to another location. However, I spent ages in the small museum as I read each individual story that hung on the walls or was otherwise displayed somehow in video, through artifacts or photos. There were so many attempts to cross over the wall. Some were killed, others arrested or shot, and there were many successes too. Families were torn apart; some would reunite years later. The escape stories. Some were successful, some were not, all were courageous. Many of the means were extremely creative. I recall stories of a homemade hot air balloon, smuggling people in trunks of cars and underneath the car, a zip line, underground tunnels and old sewer pipes. The museum goes into details of the individuals and each individual story paints a much bigger picture of the times and politics of the era. The museum might have evolved quite a bit since my visit. Still, I would recommend a stop there if you find yourself in Berlin as it is very moving.
IMAGE VIA: Olivier Bruchez on flickr